A Day In The Life Of Debbie Grant
Debbie Grant, the Head of Financial Crime, Compliance and Fraud at Wirex, shares exclusive insights on her career development in the company.
How long have you been with Wirex?
Why did you join Wirex?
I wanted to work for a company that had great leadership, a great work ethic and was also in the crypto space as I hadn’t worked in crypto before and was keen to learn something new. I knew Kirsty Coughlan from taking over from her as Head of Compliance and MLRO at my previous role and she suggested coming to Wirex. Two of my team members, Olivia and Sayed also moved to Wirex so for me this opportunity came up at a perfect time.
What is your background?
I started off my career in the prison service, followed by the last 15 years in fraud. I also trained as a Barrister (legal not coffee).
What is your job now and how long have you been doing this job?
I was originally Head of Financial Crime Compliance but my role changed a month after being here to Head of Financial Crime, Compliance and Fraud. I am also now MLRO for Croatia. I have been doing this new role for 3 months.
When you left School or University what did you want to be when you grew up?
I wanted to be a forensic psychologist as I was interested in what makes serial killers tick. I changed my mind about that once I realized they were all idiots after working the prison service and dealing with them on a daily basis.
What industry's does your job apply to?
Financial sector in Risk and Compliance.
What kind of education and/or training did your career require?
I have a degree in Psychology and a degree in Law but I don’t think that really helped me in my career fighting fraud as you can’t really train to work in fraud, you either have that instinct or you don’t. Therefore, when recruiting I don’t tend to look for peoples qualifications I prefer experience.
How do you become Head of Financial Crime?
To become Head of Financial Crime you first need to be a good fraud investigator, followed by experience managing people such as fraud manager, as well as general knowledge of financial crime. Once you have that then you can look to a more senior role such as Head of Fraud or Financial Crime.
What skills are required in your daily work?
Time management, being able to delegate appropriately, good instincts, organizational skills, decisiveness and being able to think like a fraudster.
Please describe a typical day of work
Most of my day is spent in response mode, such as responding to emails, dealing with any fraud issues that may arise throughout the day, meetings, dealing with ad hoc requests, ensuring the team is productive and handling anything that our Chief Risk Officer (Chet Shah) has asked me to do.
Do you mostly work alone or with others?
A bit of both, I work on my own when dealing with my own tasks but I also rely a lot on my team to help with tasks that need completing. I don’t think a day has gone by where I haven’t had several conversations with various people throughout the day.
How has Wirex helped you get to develop your skills and career?
I have only been here 4 months so too soon to tell. Although I was only here a month before I was given a promotion and new role so looking good so far.
What do you wish you would have known about your job before starting?
Just how busy it would be and the fact that my role would change considerably within the first month of being here.
What would you like to tell someone who’s interested in applying for a Head of Financial Crime position to know?
At this level accountability is everything. If something goes wrong irrespective of whether it has anything to do with me or not I am ultimately responsible, the buck lies with me. That’s why you need to ensure the team around you is capable of doing the job they are employed to do.
What Career progression is there in your role and/or Wirex?
The next step for me is to Chief Risk Officer (CRO) but that won’t be for a few more years yet. We are lucky that we have a great CRO in Chet Shah and so I am constantly trying to learn from him where I can. There are lots of opportunities for people if they are willing to work for it and put in the effort but ultimately you are responsible for your own development.
What do you love the most about your job at Wirex?
The fact that it is so busy and I don’t have time to be bored. I also feel like we are achieving some great things within the Risk department and I am glad to be apart of that.
How would you describe working at Wirex?
Working at Wirex is a great place to be if you don’t mind getting stuck in. We are a small company so there is no place to hide in terms of not pulling your weight, at the same time it’s a great place to be cross trained and work on a variety of tasks, so helps people develop their skills and knowledge. You also get to work alongside the senior leadership team and get to learn from them, as well as your peers, for example you wouldn’t have the Head of Fraud working directly with fraud analysts in a large company but you do here, so I think it’s great that everyone works together.
If you could give one piece of career advice, what would it be?
Don’t be afraid to ask questions if you don’t know the answer or what is being asked of you. I would rather someone come to me and ask for further explanation or clarification then bluff their way through and get it wrong, which could lead to further issues.